Almost all of us these days use latex paint. Since its water based, its easy to apply, easy to clean up, dries fast and comes in every color you can imagine.

But what do you do with the leftover latex paint once you’re through? Sure you’ll store the can in the garage or basement for touch ups. But once you decide to change colors, the can of paint is no longer needed. Then what?

The Mystery Of Recycling Latex PaintLatex paint is a very special waste product. You can’t just take the can and throw it away. You can’t pour it down the drain. But there really aren’t any mandates for what to do with it. Its one of those blind areas where everyone turns their heads, not noticing what their neighbor is really doing with that old can of paint.

In California, they consider latex paint to be hazardous waste, and have a variety of programs in place to dispose of it. But in every other state, including Colorado, it’s a gray area.

When you are ready to get rid of a can of latex paint, before you throw it away, it must be left open and completely dried out before it is tossed. Yet where do you leave it open for an extended period of time for drying out? It can be hazardous to both children and pets, so it needs to be kept in a safe place if this is the route you are taking.

Want another option? Try donating it to a local charity, organization, school or even an artist. Ask around and chances are you’ll find someone in need of a little extra paint for a small project or two. A school loves paint to fix up an old wall, or even to help make gift items for this year’s auction event. Charities are also looking for building materials to help out those in need. Even the smallest cans of paint can be used for touch ups or to update a small bathroom in a shelter or other project.

While the best way is to simply buy what you need, in reality that doesn’t always happen. Save some for touch ups, then find a second home for the rest. You’ll be improving your community all the way around.